The Miami Level of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Gets a Little Too Real
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has taken the app world by storm. The addictive game has become so massive that bloggers are chronicling their experiences spending hundreds of real life dollars on it. The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water accidentally sent out a tweet about it. High minded writers are churning out thousand-plus word think pieces on it.
It's also currently the fourth highest grossing app in the iTunes store, and could be raking in $700,000-a-day for Kim K. and its creators.
Yesterday my curiosity got the best of me. I caved. I downloaded it. The main selling point: Miami is one of the settings for the game. Considering it may very well turn out to be Miami's most important appearances in a video game since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, I had to see what it was all about.
In retrospect I think it would have been more fun to play as a female, and yet instinctively I picked the male player. I quickly modeled the character to look vaguely like me, and yet no matter what options you chose, your avatar will end up being impossibly gorgeous. I suspect this is part of the attraction for some users, and yet it kind of bummed me out immediately. Here is this little 2-D cartoon doll version of "me" that is better looking than I ever have or ever hope to be. He looks so good in a tank top it literally hurt. Granted, what else was I supposed to expect from a Kim Kardashian video game? I decided not to to fight it, and gave myself razor sharp cheek bones.
My character then had a random encounter with Kim herself. She laid out the basic aim of the game. Your character starts out on the "E-list" and then tries to become famous by doing not much more than dating other "celebrities," going out to clubs, feuding with your arch nemesis, posing for photographs, and doing a few occasional stints at a day job to apparently help support this lifestyle. The exact mechanics of the game are best explained elsewhere, because I just want to get to the Miami party.
And yet, I was kind of disappointed I couldn't immediately head over to Miami. I texted an experienced player friend about this, and she told me not to worry. Miami is the first location outside of Los Angeles County you can unlock. You don't even need to get to the D-list level to reach it.
There is a bit of subtle shade in all this. It implies that in Miami even E-listers qualify as VIP, which, well, actually is true.
So I did some "work" in LA, helped by my publicist Maria -- and I love Maria! In my real-life job as a journalist, I'm not even supposed to particularly like real life publicists, yet I wanted to be best friends with Maria. The dialogue in the game can be pretty witty at times, and Maria is the most fully realized character I met so far, much more than Kim herself. Anyway, Maria suggested I head to Miami to work at "Kardash." Yes, oddly the game does not use "Dash," the name of the Kardashian's real life store in Miami in the game, but Kardash.
Now, if you know Maria like I know Maria, you get the sense that she wanted to tell you they have good coke in Miami, but she's under court order to keep it professional. Though, the Cuban coffee line already tells me that the game developers have a better handle on real Miami than some others who have featured the city in their game. Anyway, I get on a bus and head to LAX, check in on my flight, and then something strange happened: next thing I knew I was on what I presumed is supposed to be South Beach.
I was kind of grateful that the game does not feature a digital version of Miami International Airport. Having to deal with it occasionally in real life is enough.
And, honestly, we suspect this is how a lot of Los Angelinos fly to Miami. They check in for their flight at LAX, down some pill cocktail with a mixture of vodka, and have no memory of anything else until their cab drops them off in South Beach. Maybe that's why Hollywood seems to have no understanding that there's other parts of Miami aside from the Beach. They don't even remember the taxi ride over the bridge.
Let's also note how in Los Angeles the player can use a "bus system," but in Miami there is no public transport system to speak of.